The Gold Coast Titans under-20s suffered a demoralising loss to the Raiders in Canberra today after losing prop Max Elliott in the first tackle and having to play 80 minutes a man down.
The young Titans were behind only 16-12 until the last play of the first half when the Raiders scored an against-the-run-of-play try and the match changed dramatically.
Two tries in the first four minutes of the second half saw the score shift to 34-12 and while the side showed some character to hit back to 34-18 until the final 15 minutes, the Raiders ran away with the match 46-18.
It was a disappointing performance for a side that had Anthony Colman and Nathan Watts back on the bench and competed well for the first half, but had to play a second game in a row a man down. Elliott suffered concussion.
Right on the break halfback Braydon Torpy elected to chip-kick just inside the Raiders half but his opposing number Lachlan Croker scooped up the ball and ran 50 metres under the posts, then converted for a 22-12 half-time lead.
The Raiders scored just 62 seconds into the second half when Croker scored his third try after a break down the Raiders’ left side and in the set after the kick-off they were in again for the match to quickly slide out of the Titans’ reach at 34-12 – in just five minutes.
Croker ended up scoring 26 points from three tries and seven goals.
It was a pity the under-manned Titans fell away after a solid first half that saw them fight back from 10-0 down after 15 minutes to 16-12.
Their first try was scored by Karl Lawton. It came off the back of a good hit-up and quick play the ball by co-captain Parahi Wilson, one of his team’s best. Braydon Torpy put Lawton into a bit of space and the five-eighth did the rest with a determined run, beating two defenders and taking another with him as he stretched out to make the line.
The Raiders got away to 16-6 with another try but Wilson scored three minutes before the break. A good scoot and offload at dummy half by Jenan Wedderburn-Parrish gave Lawton some space and he accelerated quickly and pass to Wilson who got to the line strongly. Jed Cartwright’s conversion made it 18-12 and the momentum had moved the Titans’ way.
But then came the heartbreaker right on the break and despite Shane Wright scoring on the left edge after a determined run and offload by Shaun Hudson, and making it 34-18 with 30 minutes remaining, the Raiders regained control in the final 15 minutes.
Canberra Raiders 46 (Croker 3, Pangai Junior, Boyle, Aroha-Tuinauvai, Lee, Ellis tries; Croker 7 goals) def. Gold Coast Titans 18 (Lawton, Wilson, Wright tries; Cartwright 3 goals).